I am not one of those new jack techs who can or wants to do it in the box. The mixer is not just an organizational tool, it's a musical one. That being said, I struggle with what to do with my current set up.
When I closed my project studio and wrapped up my Soundcraft I dug out the old Ramsa which is fine sturdy and quite usable for basic stuff. BUT after a few months it developed a nasty bug which causes it to go into solo mode, thus knocking out anything that isn't soloed (IE probably everything). Theoretically one could have everything soloed BUT then you would be in mono too and I am not Phil Spector.
Now as much as I don't want to just buy something like a Mackie Big Knob I want to open up and repair the Ramsa even less. Now I'm more or less settled on the Mackie because it's the least wack, smallest thing I have seen that can function in the two most vital ways that I currently need, those being 1. controlling volumes from multiple in & out sources and 2. being an object that I can have a quarter inch cable hanging out that I can just grab and plug in. Though being a snob I have never owned anything with the name Mackie on it, not that Ramsa is any better.
I know this doesn't sound like an emergency situation but I am not using any amps here and would like to be able to play music without having to turn on my computer in order to monitor myself.
I am considering another option which is the more traditional Soundcraft Compact 4/10 It's in the same price range and probably doesn't sound bad though I would be a liar if I didn't say it looks pretty toy. Either way, we are looking at about $250 in order to actually plug my bass into something and adjust the volume. I was half way tempted to just wire up a passive thing and just run my powered KRKs which I am quite happy with but I just don't think I'll be happy with that.
So is the easy solution a small mixer or some sort of switching interface thing? A tough choice for sure since I have not real idea how long this home studio thing is going to work for me and I do have my old board which I am still happy with.
The little I am clear is I'm going the cheap route but not the sleazy one. In other words, I may not know much but I know I won't go Berhinger (who suck so bad I won't link em)